Hanging out on the couch and doing nothing is generally frowned upon in our culture. On the whole, we tend to value working hard and getting things done.
As a result, one area where it is easy to get tripped up on the mind body journey is when it comes to listening to your body’s signals to stop and do nothing.
Your body can say, “stop” with anything from tension, physical pain, chronic fatigue, and exhaustion to a lack of energy, spark, or enthusiasm.
There are so many reasons why your body may need to stop and do nothing! Some of the most important ones are:
You are physically depleted and your body needs rest in order to heal and rejuvenate.
Your emotions (current or old) need space to flow. This is often the case with formerly repressed emotions. When you start using mind body tools, there will come a point where your body is ready to start releasing old repressed emotion, and it will need downtime to do it.
Your soul has a message for you. It could be anything from a needed change in direction to an inspiring idea.
If you don’t give yourself the time to stop and do nothing, none of this will ever have the space to happen and you’re likely to end up tired, sick, overwhelmed, or in pain.
Last week I was in a funk. I was having trouble focusing. I wasn’t getting anything done and my mind was stuck in self-criticism and negative future predictions.
When I stopped pushing myself and checked in with my body, I noticed that my heart was aching and felt heavy. I was physically exhausted and there wasn’t one thing I could think of doing that sounded remotely appealing except sleep.
I asked my soul for guidance and it was crystal clear….
“You need to stop and feel.”
I had been pushing myself for few weeks. Ignoring the heaviness in my heart, wondering what happened to my spark, energy and enthusiasm. I was starting to think old thoughts like, “What’s wrong with me?” and “I can’t do this.”
There were old emotions surfacing that needed space to flow.
And, even with years and years of practice listening to and following my body’s wisdom, and a deep knowing that my emotions are guidance from my soul, it was really really hard to give myself the space to stop and do that.
Thoughts like “There’s too much to do to take a break” and “I’m being a terrible mother” were pushing me to embrace my old habits and send my emotions right back down where they came from.
Except I was too aware of what my soul wanted and what the consequences of pushing through would be. So, I lay down on the couch and did nothing for almost 2 full days.
My mind was not at all happy with this course of events, and persisted in coming up with reasons that I should do something…..
“You’re just being lazy. You’re doing this wrong. You don’t have to feel sad. This is a waste of time. How are you going to maintain a business if you lie around feeling sad? Find a better feeling thought. Focus on what you want. Look at it in a new way. For goodness sakes, and you call yourself a coach!”
I soothed my mind as best I could and persisted in following my souls guidance, and on the third day tears started to flow.
For a couple more days that’s what I did, cry and rest, still on the couch. Only now instead of sleeping and watching tv, I had the energy to read, listen to music, and write in my journal.
By day 5 I was up and hiking in my favorite gorge, full of joy, inspiration and appreciation for my life again. Re-connected to myself.
Trusting yourself and allowing your emotions won’t always look like your mind thinks it should.
It won’t always fit into a convenient schedule or include writing, yoga, and meditation. Sometimes it will just be doing nothing. But nothing is important work and a necessary part of healing your body, and living a soul based, jump out of bed in the morning, arms wide open, twirling in the sun, outrageously joyful LIFE!
If you’re struggling right now to keep up, if you’re in pain, or you feel like you are pushing 1000 lbs uphill against the wind and all you really want to do is stop and lie down…..
It’s time to listen. The fact is, you’re not going to get anywhere you truly want to go until you do.
Here are some tips to get you started…..
Trust yourself. Trust the information you get from your body, soul, and emotions, over anything your mind or anyone else is telling you.
You’ll need it to write down the stories that your mind is spinning so you can identify and name them. You do not want to let those thoughts float around unchecked in your mind. Beating yourself up with your own thoughts will stop your true emotions from flowing and keep you stuck. Of course, you can also use your journal to free write and communicate with your soul!
If you have a history of depression or disconnecting by zoning out, the idea of doing nothing may bring up fearful thoughts that you are going down a familiar and painful road. Take the time to consciously connect and be intentional about your downtime. You are not hiding. You are making an important decision to take the time and space you need to listen deeply to your own soul.
Imagine a bubble of light and love around you. Allow it to fill you up and protect you. Appreciate yourself. Wrap yourself in a soft blanket. Create a nurturing sacred space, physically and energetically, so that you feel safe and loved in your cocoon. Remind yourself that you are connecting – not disconnecting.
You are allowed to revel in your doing nothingness. In fact my hunch is that it’s much more effective when you do! If sadness or anger needs to come they will. You don’t have to make anything happen. Just do whatever it is that feels good to you.
Your body and soul will always communicate exactly what you need. The key is taking the leap to listen and follow through. It may not look like you think it should, and it won’t always be lying on the couch. But whatever your body is telling you, I highly encourage and fully support you to listen.
Lorraine Faehndrich is an Endorsed Mind Body Coach and a Certified Martha Beck Coach with over 15 years experience with mind and body healing. She specializes in helping women, who are suffering with chronic pain and recurring health issues, relieve their pain, increase their energy, and experience radiant health and outrageous joy in their body and in their life. Lorraine offers private coaching and mentoring to clients all over the world. To learn more about her or how to work with her please visit www.RadiantLifeDesign.com